NEXT Teams up With Toys for Tots for the Fourth Consecutive Year

HOUSTON (PRWEB) December 19, 2014

NEXT Financial Group Inc. (NEXT) joined in the gift-giving season by working with Toys for Tots to help make the holidays special for underprivileged families in need. Throughout the months of November and December, NEXTs home office employees donated brand new toys that were collected by the U.S. Marines and gifted to children within the local Houston community.

The Houston based independent broker-dealer has contributed to Toys for Tots for the last four years. The culture of NEXT is very people oriented in that it provides opportunities for its advisors and employees to participate with charitable organizations, such as Toys for Tots, to broaden the impact of both NEXT and its affiliates in the local community.

This spirit of collaboration was exemplified when a local NEXT advisor joined in NEXTs toy drive by generously donating 10 Huffy bikes and six Razor scooters. NEXT appreciates their Representatives involvement with the broker-dealer as well as their charitable programs.

Its an honor, as well as a civic duty, to ensure that all children have a special holiday season, said Barry Knight, President of NEXT. Knowing that we helped make a positive impact on the community is well worth the effort we put forth to collect donations.

In an effort to further assist the public, long after the holidays have past, NEXT also contributed monetary support to The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, an organization that has supported the goal of helping less fortunate children throughout the country since 1991.

For more information about The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, please visit

NEXT is a Division III broker-dealer servicing approximately 750 independent financial representatives throughout the country. The firm was voted Broker-Dealer of the Year* by its representatives an unprecedented eight times and continues building upon their unique culture to better serve the needs of independent financial professionals and their customers.

*Based on a poll of registered representatives conducted by Investment Advisor magazine. Broker- dealers rated highest by their representatives are awarded Broker-Dealer (B-D) of the Year.

Securities and investment advisory services offered through NEXT Financial Group Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. NEXT Financial Group Inc. is located at 2500 Wilcrest Dr. Ste. 620, Houston, TX 77042. P: 877-876-6398.

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(Official) DANCE This Flash Mob @ Seattle Library Choreographed by Nick & Anna Golla

(Official) DANCE This Flash Mob @ Seattle Library Choreographed by Nick & Anna Golla

Choreography by Nick & Anna Golla This is the completed edit with all the cameras of the DANCE This flash mob at Seattle Library on July 1st. 75 teens from S…
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Boston Public Library Foundation “Free to All”

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Family-Friendly Christmas Fairy Tale, “Hansel and Gretel” Performed by Opera Mariposa’s Award-Winning Emerging Artists

Vancouver, BC (PRWEB) December 10, 2014

Opera Mariposa, an acclaimed company for emerging artists, will celebrate the holiday season by presenting the classic Christmas opera ‘Hansel and Gretel.’ The English-language production, touring Vancouver and Richmond December 7-20, will star acclaimed, multi-award-winning emerging artists from across North America. Tickets start at $ 15 and are available at or from Brown Paper Tickets at 1-800-838-3006.

‘Hansel and Gretel’ is a well-known fairy tale opera by German composer Engelbert Humperdinck. Premiering in 1893 to instant and overwhelming popularity, the work has proven to be an enduring favourite with audiences, and it is traditionally staged around Christmastime. Opera Mariposa will perform the opera in English to make it even more accessible, and the production will be directed by critically acclaimed stage director Robin Eder-Warren.

“‘Hansel and Gretel’ is the perfect family-friendly show,” says Eder-Warren, who is also Opera Mariposa’s managing director. “It’s often described as the best opera with which to introduce children to the art form, by virtue of its familiar plot, catchy melodies, and hilarious stage antics. At the same time, its gorgeous music makes it a favourite among opera connoisseurs, so it’s really the ideal choice for Opera Mariposa’s first-ever touring production.”

‘Hansel and Gretel’ will feature mezzo-soprano Amber Rose Johnson as Hansel and sopranos Claire McLaughlin and Serena Eduljee as Gretel – the latter of whom has won prestigious awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the National Association of Teachers of Singing Annual Competition and more. Other notable emerging artists include multi-award-winning soprano Katrina Goh, multi-award-winning soprano Jacqueline Ko, and acclaimed soprano Stephanie Mile, who performed as a soloist with multi-platinum artist Josh Groban in his ‘Straight to You’ tour in 2012.

‘Hansel and Gretel’ by Engelbert Humperdinck – December 7-20, 2014

Tickets $ 22 | $ 18 students & seniors | $ 15 family pricing (groups of 4+) at the door, at or from Brown Paper Tickets at 1-800-838-3006


Sunday, December 7 at 3:30 pm – free preview performance in partnership with the Vancouver Public Library

Vancouver Public Library, Central Branch – Alice McKay Room (350 W. Georgia St. Vancouver)

Thursday, December 11 at 7:30 pm

Vancouver Academy of Music – Mary Olson Hall (1270 Chestnut St. Vancouver)

Saturday, December 13 at 2:00 pm

Richmond Cultural Centre Performance Hall (7700 Minoru Gate, Richmond)

Saturday, December 20 at 7:30 pm

Marpole United Church (1296 W. 67th Ave, Vancouver)

The show in brief: Opera Mariposa presents a magical new production of Engelbert Humperdinck’s beloved Christmas opera Hansel and Gretel. Featuring acclaimed and multi-award-winning emerging performers from across North America, you won’t want to miss the memorable music and hilarious stage antics of this scrumptious musical fairy tale, which offers fun for the whole family.

About Opera Mariposa: Opera Mariposa is a critically acclaimed opera company run by young artists, for young artists. Now in their third season, the Vancouver, BC-based company is dedicated to creating a stage for emerging talent, showcasing North America’s most promising performers in a diverse program of gala concerts, original shows and fully staged opera productions. The Vancouver Project recently declared that “Opera Mariposa stands at the forefront of Vancouver’s opera scene,” and Mariposa’s productions have been hailed as “a stroke of genius” (The Voice) for their ability to engage both dedicated opera lovers and new audiences. Learn more at

EDITORS NOTE: High-resolution photos are available. If you would like to schedule an interview with the performers, email Robin Eder-Warren at or call her at 778-918-9498. Opera Mariposa artists are also available to perform in-studio, as a way to provide you with a unique angle for covering Opera Mariposa’s touring Christmas opera Hansel and Gretel.

Media contact: Robin Eder-Warren (Managing Director, Opera Mariposa)

778-918-9498 operamariposa(at)gmail(dot)com

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Join in the Festivities of “Celebrate Short Fiction” Day with Public Readings & Complimentary Downloads of Short Stories

(PRWEB) December 11, 2014

Pixel Hall Press author Nancy Christie was instrumental in having the winter solstice — (this year, December 21st) — officially designated as Celebrate Short Fiction Day. “The winter solstice marks both the start of winter and the shortest day of the year,” explained Christie. “So why not take advantage of the long winter night to curl up with a good short story?” In support of Celebrate Short Fiction Day, Pixel Hall Press is using hashtag #CSFD to issue a challenge to all publishers, authors, bloggers, librarians, book stores and other lovers of short stories to get behind this year’s celebration.

This holiday season, Pixel Hall Press is inviting all fellow short story lovers to get involved in Celebrate Short Fiction Day by doing at least one of the following:

Publishers & Authors:
Offer a complimentary short story to the public. (Pixel Hall Press is offering several, including: “Annabelle” from “Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories” by Nancy Christie, and “Mr. Eastman’s Empathy,” a story from “Seven From Haven” by Daniel Grotta. To download these and others, click here.)

Librarians & Bookstore Managers:
Schedule short story readings and author appearances for December 21st, such as the event planned by Nancy Christie in Youngstown, Ohio, which will include readings of a variety of short stories and audience participation.)

Bloggers & Members of the Press:
Spread the word about Celebrate Short Fiction Day and review a great short story. (Contact Cynthia[at]PixelHallPress[dot]com for background information, an interview with Nancy Christie, a choice of stories available for review and/or a complimentary short story to share with your readers.)

All Short Story Enthusiasts:
Join in the fun! Read a new short story and discover a new author (such as the Irish short story writer Aine Greaney, whose story “La Belle Femme” is being published by PHP Shorts on the winter solstice as a 99 cent eBook.)

This Holiday Season, Give the Gift of a Short Story or Short Story Collection.

About PHP Shorts
Pixel Hall Press established its PHP Shorts imprint to publish short stories as eBooks in all popular formats. As Cynthia Dadson, Pixel Hall Press’s Director of Marketing & Communications, said, “The market for short stories and novellas is about to experience a renaissance, spurred in part by the proliferation smartphones, eReaders and tablets. The length of a story is becoming irrelevant. All that matters is that it’s a great story that captures the readers’ interest and imagination.” Whether readers choose to enjoy it on an e-reader or prefer the tactile pleasure of turning the pages, the result is the same: a feeling of pleasure and satisfaction from reading a complete, beautifully crafted story in one sitting.

About Pixel Hall Press
Pixel Hall Press is a relatively new, old-fashioned small publishing house whose focus is on discovering literary gems and great stories that might otherwise be overlooked. Our mission is to publish books that energize the imagination and intrigue the mind, and to be a conduit between readers and provocative, stimulating, talented authors.

In this era of digital technology, Wall Street involvement and merger mania, many mainstream publishers seem to have lost sight of core principles and the purpose of publishing. At the other end of the spectrum is the veritable avalanche of self-published books that are notoriously uneven in quality. Small boutique imprints like Pixel Hall Press are reclaiming the heart and soul of publishing by reviving the idea that a publisher’s core purpose is finding and nurturing great writers, and to provide readers with beautiful, meaningful, truly enjoyable books.

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- Gypsy Rose Lee: An American Icon Laid Bare

– Gypsy Rose Lee: An American Icon Laid Bare

from LIVE from the NYPL – Audio

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Santori Public Library of Aurora, 2014

Santori Public Library of Aurora, 2014.
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Frank Garrett calls the Stilwell, OK public library. Reupload, not mine.
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Tynker Launches 10 New Coding Activities to Support the Hour of Code

Mountain View, CA (PRWEB) December 05, 2014

Thousands of schools are participating in Hour of Code, a global initiative to get more kids engaged in computer science — using Tynkers all-new set of free coding activities for kids of all ages, experience levels and interests. Tynkers unique approach motivates students to learn because they can create their own characters, animate them, and rapidly build their own games and interactive stories, using visual block-based programming.

The real excitement is best heard in the voices of students who previewed an Hour of Code with Tynker:

By learning problem-solving and critical thinking skills at an early age, todays kids will be prepared to develop solutions that will change the world they live in, solve important problems or even address humanitarian issues, said Tynker Co-founder and CEO Krishna Vedati. All kids deserve the opportunity to build the skills and confidence to create with technology, and we are proud supporters of the Hour of Code.

Coding Activities for All Ages & Interests

Tynkers activities for the 2014 Hour of Code introduce programming concepts using a fun and intuitive approach. Younger students can focus on solving simple coding puzzles, and use what they learn to create interactive holiday cards, cartoon comics, simple games and stories. Older students can select coding projects that will guide them through the creation of drawing tools, math art and multi-level/multi-player games that they can share and play with each other. Immersive puzzle adventures include over 100 levels that introduce basic concepts such as sequencing, repetition, conditional logic:

Dragon Dash – Go on an epic quest for treasure with your own custom dragon.
Candy Quest – Design a candy troll and use programming to get the candy.
Trailblazer – Program your spaceship to trace various patterns and shapes.
Debugger – Help your character fight bugs and save the motherboard!

The interactive tutorial activities enable kids to express their creativity as they make their own games and apps to share and play with friends and family. Making their games work the way they want is excellent motivation for kids to learn new programming concepts.

Animated Card Creator – Create an interactive holiday card with special effects and animations.
Comic Creator – Make an interactive comic with speech bubbles and sound effects.
Arcade Shooter – Create a top-down arcade shooter game with bad guys and a good guy ship.
Brick Breaker – Recreate an arcade classic using physics, with multiple levels, sound effects and bonus bricks.
2-Player Cannon Game – Build a physics-based game with structures and knock them down with friends.
My Art Studio – Create a drawing tool with pen drawing commands and stamping.

Thousands of schools and partners are hosting Hour of Code with Tynker from December 8-14, including Minnetonka Public Schools, Palo Alto Unified, aSTEAM Village, Kidzworld,, Calvert Education, Childrens Creativity Museum, and San Jose Public Library, using Tynker’s wide variety of fun and engaging grade-appropriate activities.

Hour of Code activities can be accessed directly at
A Teacher’s Guide is available to help plan and tailor Hour of Code for students:
Tynker tablet apps can be downloaded for free from iTunes and Google Play.
Student creations are available to view at

About Tynker

Tynkers creative computing platform helps children develop computational thinking and programming skills in a fun, intuitive and imaginative way. Tynker is used by more than 10,000 schools and 10 million students. Tynker was founded by a seasoned team of technology entrepreneurs who share the passion for giving children the critical life skills needed to become leaders in the technologies of tomorrow.

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Edudemic Names Top Online Colleges in Ohio

(PRWEB) November 11, 2014

Traditional universities have embraced online education. Its no longer the territory of for-profit universities with dubious track records. There are now 101 universities in Ohio that offer some type of degree online. Edudemic evaluated and ranked these schools to understand the best online degree programs in Ohio. These individual state rankings are part of Edudemics 2015 Online College Report.

The University of Cincinnati, our #1 pick, is a large public school that offers eight different Bachelors degrees online. Their ranked at the top due, in part, to a low tuition rate, a strong graduation rate, and a variety of career services available to online students. The runner up at #2 was Ohio University, who offer a lot of unique financial aid services, including emergency counseling.

But not all of the top schools are big public universities. Hiram College, our #5 finisher, is a small school of 1,200 students. The diversity of their online degrees, along with their strong performance metrics, put them solidly in the top five.

Online Education Defined

Many universities offer some kind of coursework online. But there is a difference between offering a couple of classes online and preparing a traditional university to handle the needs of online-only students. Thats why Edudemic only looked at schools that offer at least four, 100% fully online Bachelors degrees. No lines at the bookstore. No late nights at the library. No campus visits, ever.

The Best Online Schools in Ohio

Out of all the schools in Ohio, Edudemic took a close look at 23 universities that offer at least four Bachelors degrees online. Data was originally sourced from the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES). The Edudemic methodology incorporated performance measurements (like graduation and retention rates), cost factors (like in-state tuition and financial aid packages), career services for specifically for online students, availability of information on their website, and much more. Verification was performed on all of the online degree programs, career service support, and financial aid services through written surveys, phone calls, and external research. Between written surveys, follow up phone calls, and additional research, Edudemic has compiled the most comprehensive evaluation of online education in Ohio to date.

The Best Online Schools in Ohio in 2015 is published at:

For questions and comments regarding this report, contact Kyle Dunning: kyle(at)edudemic(dot)com.

Here are the results of their ranking:


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- Ryan Adams & Mary-Louise Parker

– Ryan Adams & Mary-Louise Parker

from LIVE from the NYPL – Audio

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